The NY Times Ignores Historic Clinton Partnership
Hillary Rodham Clinton “jaw-boned” the authoritarian.
She “argued” about democracy.
She “cajoled” women to make peace with religious differences
in Northern Ireland.
But as First Lady, according
to Patrick Healy, she was basically a potted plant with her president husband,
in a relationship that has spanned decades and every conceivable political job
for him where she
was his political partner in all things. Besides, you can’t have the Clintons
planning presidencies for one another over decades, but then say they didn’t
rely on each other as confidantes, policy partners, regardless of their differences
on many issues on which Hillary kept publicly quiet.
Oh, but she wasn’t the president!
Big Tent Democrat’s one
word analysis of that nugget from Susan Rice (an Obama supporter) is particularly
apropos. I guess a New Year’s resolution from Mr. Healy on embracing reality is out of the
Besides, does Mr. Healy have factual Alzheimer’s on what the 1990s was all
about? Does he actually suggest that because Hillary’s public role on important issues wasn’t vocal and on the record, even to
her husband’s aides, that this means she was silent on issues of national security or foreign policy behind closed doors? Is he kidding?
Her public role receded after health care, but also because of the hunting atmosphere
of the 1990s, which had wingnut radio after the president and first lady throughout
that decade, starting the moment they arrived in Washington. But does Healy mention that reality? Of course not, because he
prefers to drop the Lewinski bomb in the third paragraph, saying that since
that “scandal sizzled,” complete with the insertion of her real role,
“Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband.” Healy always reverts
back to Lewinski, having obviously caught the Chris Matthews’ Tourette’s on
all things related to the Clinton marriage. “It was the height
of Monica,” dishes one “senior national security official.” Does anyone remember that famous “60 Minutes” interview before the primaries? Hillary can cut through crap even at the worst of times and keep walking without blinking an eye.
The truth is that Hillary Clinton’s toughness has been forged over decades, which has been proven time and again. Oh, but to the Patrick Healy’s of the world Mrs. Clinton will evidently always be the victim of her first lady role, which Healy equates to Laura Bush rather than Eleanor Roosevelt, both roles equally appropriate, but which nevertheless should be distinguished as quite different. Somebody slap this jerk, because he obviously fell asleep somewhere and missed a history lesson.
But not even Healy could bury the lede forever:
… .. Friends of Mrs. Clinton say that she acted as adviser, analyst, devil’s
advocate, problem-solver and gut check for her husband, and that she has an
intuitive sense of how brutal the job can be. What is clear, she and others
say, is that Mr. Clinton often consulted her, and that Mrs. Clinton gained
experience that Mr. Obama, John Edwards and every other candidate lack Ã¢â‚¬”
indeed, that most incoming presidents did not have.
“In the end, she was the last court of appeal for him when he was making
a decision,” said Mickey Kantor, a close Clinton friend who served as
trade representative and commerce secretary. “I would be surprised if
there was any major decision he made that she didn’t weigh in on.”
(Mr. Clinton declined an interview request.) … ..
I’d not only be surprised, but I will go so far as to offer that it’s practically
impossible to even offer that Bill Clinton, as smart and astute a man as you’ll
ever find in politics, would be so dumb as not to ask his “scary smart”
wife who has a background in politics going back decades, her opinion on every
major decision he faced, as a sounding board if nothing else. Even at the height of that sizzling scandal, I don’t
doubt for a moment that Bill Clinton would have walked in to ask his wife about
something, even as opportunistic as it may sound and seem, predicating his query
on putting the country before their own problems. But you know, I wasn’t in the room and neither was one single “source” in Healy’s piece.
These aren’t children we’re
talking about and there isn’t one political event in Clinton’s past that Hillary
didn’t share a role. I’ve read so many books on the Clintons, including the
good, the bad and the ugly, quite frankly, I can’t see how anyone can even question
Hillary’s role in Bill Clinton’s presidency. That was the complaint, for crying
out loud, that they were “two for one.” It’s one reason her public
role receded in the second term, though there is no evidence whatsoever that
her private role altered one iota. Why would it? She’s been involved in politics
her entire life. Bill Clinton would have been an idiot not to tap that resource.
“Those 8 Years as First Lady,” is quite a headline. It’s
as if they are reviewing Jacqueline Kennedy from a different era of first ladies
instead of Hillary Rodham Clinton, complete with insertion of what is meant to be a feminist swipe, that Patrick Healy inserts as part of the first six words of his piece.
Hey, but when the author of the piece can’t even keep the story on Somalia straight, what can you expect? However, this isn’t about
Bill Clinton. It’s about his partner in politics who has been by his side for
decades in all manner of circumstances, traveled the globe, spoken to world
leaders everywhere, and no doubt been in the room when Bill Clinton hashed out
his own ideas and thought through tough decisions from the moment he hit the scene and all the way through a two-term presidency where everyone was
bemoaning that Hillary Clinton had too much power in a “co-presidency” that now Healy says was nothing but hype.
Healy’s piece is nothing but revisionist history on a famed political partnership, downplaying the importance
these two people have in one another’s political life, not to mention the historic shift Hillary Clinton played in changing the role of the First Lady. Now we’re all supposed to ignore that fact and to buy Hillary Rodham Clinton as arm candy. To talk about Bill Clinton’s
political importance is to automatically include the woman who has been there
every step of the way, not to mention vice-versa. Seems that some reporters
now want to invent a relationship between the Clintons that never existed. Hillary
Clinton may be a lot of things to people, good and bad, but quiet political
spouse standing by her man obediently, silently and without influence isn’t one of them.